I went ahead and read The Icy Hand, the second book in the Something Wickedly Weird series, even though I wasn’t all that impressed with the first.
Even more wicked and weird than the first! Stanley is looking forward to a relaxing winter. After all, nothing could have been weirder than the werewolf curse and plotting pirates he had to face the summer before! Or at least that’s what Stanley thinks; but he has a lot to learn about Cramdon Rock, especially after accidentally bringing some dead pirates back to life—ones that make the previous pirates he faced look like cuddly puppy dogs and ones that are trudging across the arctic determined to fi nd a magical medallion in Stanley’s house. The only person who can save him is his dead great-uncle Bartholomew, which is a little tricky considering he’s…well, dead. Oh, and did we mention headless? With the help of a talking stuffed fish and a new friend named Daisy, Stanley sets out to find his great-uncle’s head, stop the pirates, and win over some new readers in this second funny and spooky installment of a thrilling new series.
In the end, however, I had the same reaction.
While there are some creative aspects, and the illustrations add to the fun, the series (or at least the first two books) just seems too simple and kind of flat. The best fantasy books, even or perhaps especially those for younger readers, give you a sense of depth and mystery; the feeling that there is more to the world you are exploring than is on the pages.
In these two books, however, the plot just moves forward somehow both nonchalantly and yet fast paced. Neither the setting nor the characters really develop depth or mystery. The lead character in particular is not all that compelling and I had a hard time rooting for him.
So no more Something Wickedly Weird books for me. They just didn’t work for me. (Again with the caveat that this is a chapter book for early elementary readers so perhaps my expectations are off.)